We used to rule the world
To many, UBS has been the top investment bank in Australia over the last decade, topping league tables and attracting the best talent. Since 2020 however, there has been a slow decline from the top, with bigwig names leaving the firm and setting up their own firm (in the form of Barrenjoey), or getting raided at other times by that same shop and other challenger banks, including Jarden and Jefferies over the course of 2021.
The glory days of UBS seem to be numbered now, and they may be counting the days. But let’s not count them out just yet! Whilst the firm has become somewhat of a skeleton of itself, the firm will remain a strong stalwart of the IB scene in Australia for years to come. They are no doubt currently in a rebuilding phase and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. This will take time, and though we think they may never regain the commanding position they once had amongst its peers, UBS has the capability, resources and drive stay near the top.
UBS is at the end of the day, a bulge bracket investment bank. Globally, whilst the brand of UBS here may not be as prestigious as it is in the US, it is a reputable name that will open doors both domestically and internationally. Some may argue that those looking for international opportunities would be better served by applying to US banks (given their general deal-making prowess and presence around the world) but we think you really can’t go wrong given the bank’s reputation here.
UBS’ bulge bracket status and full service offering means that it is given access to some of the best deals in the market, and work is generated as a result of that e.g. underwriting / financing for an M&A mandate. Overall, deal flow is solid and you will work on top-tier deals at your time here.
The culture at UBS is fairly standard amongst investment banking, with a work hard, play hard mentality. Given recent events, however, we have been told that there could be a greater emphasis on culture in an effort to try and retain talent, and by differentiating themselves here from all the other houses. UBS don’t pay at the top of the market but given its reputation in the market, its access to deals and growing emphasis on culture, this could be an acceptable trade-off for the right person.
Ultimately, we would expect nothing but excellence from an institution like UBS. Given their starried history in Australia, you would expect to be kept busy at your desk with deals galore. We have heard that a typical day ranges from around 9am – 12/1am, but of course, this is team dependent.
Training at UBS is stellar and you can be sure that there is the proper infrastructure/resources available for junior staff (which cannot be said for some of the newer, leaner challenger IBs). This may seem like a small point now, but you hardly want to be sitting at your computer looking to start something from scratch at 11pm in the evening… just because the firm doesn’t have a decent knowledge base.